The announcement of a new airport at Badgerys Creek has reignited the battle against aircraft noise and pollution in the inner west, but some say that dispute’s over.
Philip Lingard, Ashfield resident and Secretary for the Sydney Airport Community Forum, predicts that flights paths in and out of Badgerys Creek will overlap with Sydney Airport flight paths, resulting in lower altitude flights and louder aircraft noise.
He says the new airport will be “an intolerable burden to the people in the inner west.”
“The primary consideration should be the environment, the air people breathe and their health,” he said in response to the NSW Business Chamber’s view that the airport is a commercial win.
“There should be a new primary airport outside the Sydney basin airshed… [so that] the air pollution goes out rather than into the community.”
Allan Rees, Research Officer at No Aircraft Noise, is also opposed to the new airport site.
He says inner west residents “shouldn’t hold out any hope that an overflow second airport will provide relief from the current situation. We don’t think Badgerys is suitable for a replacement airport.”
No Aircraft Noise backs Wilton as a better site on the basis that it is closer to the edge of the Sydney airshed and would minimise air pollution problems in Western Sydney. It claims that Wilton could run a 24-hour airport with significantly less community impact than at Badgerys Creek.
Strathfield MP Charles Casuscelli says the concerns amount to a small inconvenience when weighed against economic benefits.
“What parent would say – I’ll live in a house… with a little bit of ambient noise, which I could probably treat by putting up a little sound installation, but in not doing so, I would actually deny a job to my children and my grandchildren?” he said.
“There’s lots of space out there. The airport will grow with demand…
“It’s called progress. The same people who’re out there now used to be living on farms, and when progress came along it became urban area.”
Western Sydney Airport Alliance spokesman David Borger says people in the inner city have to realise that Western Sydney needs more jobs.
“Airports have got to go somewhere and 40 years of studies have shown that Badgerys Creek is the best place,” he said.
In response to community and lobby groups wanting a replacement airport at Wilton, he said, “They may as well ask for a new airport to go in New Zealand, Peru or South America.”
“They’ve got to wake up because that debate’s over. The government’s made a decision.”
By Saimi Jeong